Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs - Tom Baker

Robert Caligari is a thoroughly evil thirteen-year-old who gets his kicks from kicking pigs. After a humiliating episode with a bacon butty, Robert realizes just how much he loathes the human race - and his revenge is truly terrible. This subversive horror-fantasy from Tom Baker (ex-monk, ex-sailor, and the ultimate Doctor Who) is outrageous and funny, and since the hardback was published in 1999 has gone on to become a cult classic. It is illustrated throughout with black and white line drawings from David Roberts. 

While I loved the style of writing and the social commentary in this book, it was incredibly disturbing! I started out really enjoying the amusing narration about a strange little boy, but it became darker as the story progressed. At only 124 pages, this is a quick read, which makes the change from a bizarre tale into a rather frightening and gruesome one all the more sudden. Not only was I disturbed by the insight into the warped mind of Robert but also by the grisly descriptions of the outcome of his pig-kicking, world-hating actions. Definitely not one for children, even though this does look like it was aimed at that audience. To be totally honest, I don't know who'd enjoy this book - perhaps people who have a very warped sense of humour? Although I want to give the author credit for his superb narrative, the unsettled feeling that I had upon finishing this "gruesome masterpiece" brings down my rating somewhat. 5/10

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